June 6, 2016
The FAA’s shift from its legacy NOTAM system to the more efficient and capable Federal NOTAM System (FNS) is scheduled to take a major step forward this fall when the agency migrates legacy NOTAM functionality to the new system.
The deliberate process leading up to the migration has been tailored to minimize the impact on users, according to the FAA. For the business aviation community and other users of the NOTAM system, the only visible change will be the removal of Pilotweb. Its replacement – FNS NOTAM Search.
FNS NOTAM Search incorporates nearly all of Pilotweb’s features and adds several others, says the FAA. The only Pilotweb feature that FNS NOTAM Search does not currently include is linking co-located military/civil airports that have different approach identifiers.
This function will be added to FNS NOTAM Search when Pilotweb is closed down after the migration. The new NOTAM search site includes several new features. Users can view NOTAMs in both domestic and ICAO formats, as well as in a “plain language” translation. The new site also offers users the option to register and create a profile.
While not required, registration enables users to save certain preferences, such as regularly flown routes and certain NOTAM filters. NBAA advocated strongly for the profile-creation upgrade, which eliminates the need to enter the same data each time the system is accessed for similar routes.
The new system includes a link to a NOTAM archive that has three years of historical data. It also features a user guide with how-to videos that explain the different features.
The migration is scheduled to be completed in September. The FAA plans to keep legacy systems, including Pilotweb, on stand-by for an undetermined period of time in case of unforeseen challenges with the new system. Once FNS NOTAM Search has proven itself, the legacy systems will be turned off, marking a major step forward in the NOTAM modernization effort.
“The current NOTAM system is a compilation of many processes and systems, developed over many years, with significant overlap of function,” the FAA explains in a “statement of work” on the program. “Designed to address these deficiencies, the Federal NOTAM System is the new NOTAM management system designed to digitize and improve the collection, management and distribution of NOTAM information.”
The Pilot’s Bill of Rights, signed into law in 2012 and supported by NBAA and other aviation organizations, was the driving force behind creation of the NOTAM Improvement Panel, which supports the FAA’s NOTAM modernization efforts. Established under RTCA, the panel delivered recommendations that helped shape the FNS’s creation and migration from the current system. NBAA is a member of the panel.